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The Impossible Knife of Memory

por Laurie Halse Anderson

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1,3758413,557 (3.96)26
"Hayley Kincaid and her father move back to their hometown to try a "normal" life, but the horrors he saw in the war threaten to destroy their lives"--
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Hayley Kincaid, daughter of Captain Andrew Kincaid, spent the past five years riding shotgun as her father tried to outrun his PTSD by driving truck across the United States. Many times, their roles reversed, and Hayley became the responsible adult. Then, Andy settles them in his old hometown so Hayley can attend high school. Her transition back to school is quite difficult, and growing problems at home don't help. Andy can't hold a job because he gets "unstuck from time" when his past takes over. In those moments, he can only hear exploding IEDs and see body fragments. Hayley must navigate the unfathomable high school scene while trying to keep things in balance at home. When Andy's memories threaten to destroy him, Hayley makes one last effort to save her father. She finds that by saving him she, also, saves herself.
©2024 Kathy Maxwell at https://bookskidslike.com ( )
  kathymariemax | Feb 5, 2024 |
4.5 out of 5. Amazing underlying current of anxiety and stress through the whole book. Laurie Halse Anderson remembers EXACTLY what it's like to be a teen, and doesn't sugarcoat it, or write it through rose colored glasses. Even the side characters have lives you care about, and are written in such a way they don't exist solely to tell the protagonist's story. One of the few books where I cried (a little!) at the end.

The only reason I took off a .5 was because I wanted to see a little more of Hayley and her father's relationship, but the good parts. I know the whole point was that he's suffering severe PTSD, but I never really had a sense of warmth between them. Of something she was looking back on as now being lost. There was always going to be a wall up, especially on the father's end, but I felt it was important to have an idea of what was on the other side of that wall. Specifically, the positives that Hayley felt once but no longer. I don't know if that makes sense...

Laurie Halse Anderson is the standard I hold all YA writing to. Absolutely recommend. ( )
  Frances333 | Aug 30, 2023 |
( )
  rkleslje | Jan 8, 2023 |
I really wanted to like this book, but in the end I really was not all that in love with it. As someone with a military background, my favorite character and portrayal really was Captain Andy -- and my deepest problem about the book is that while it talks a lot about Andy having PTSD it never addresses or answers the fact his daughter has raging case of it herself, too.

I really, really loved the second to last chapter of this book. I felt like the whole novel had worked up to that chapter, and then that chapter came out tight, insane, and emotional. Every single way it should have.

But then the next chapter happened. Wherein everything was neatened up with a magical duster, even if it implied it wasn't, it still was. And it was talked about from away and everything that was The Real Work was glossed over, the whole thing became shortcutting with "telling instead of showing," and I hated the easy cheat of all of that part so much that I had to dock the whole book a star. ( )
  wanderlustlover | Dec 26, 2022 |
I’ve read many of Anderson’s books and loved them all, but this one missed the mark. The book follows Halley, a young, disenfranchised, rebellious teenager. She hates school, hates her teachers, and hates life in general. She struggles in all of her classes, especially calculus (can’t blame her there), talks back to teachers, and spends as much time in detention as she does in class.

Her home life is a wreck as well. She lives with her father after his girlfriend, whom she also hates, left him years ago, but she keeps making reappearances in their lives. She has an off and on boyfriend, with whom she has a love/hate relationship. Her father is a mess. He drinks, cannot hold a job, and has bad memories and nightmares of his time in the service.

The book moves slowly with little to nothing new happening, with page after page of her dad messing up everyone’s life and Halley screwing up her school life. None of the characters were likeable or able to be related to by this reader. As a result, the book was rather boring and took me twice as long to finish it as it should have, as I hated picking it back up.

There were a few memorable lines in the book when Finn says, “Calculus is a joke that got out of hand,” and when Halley said, “You need a license to drive a car and to go fishing, but you don’t need a license to start a family. A perfectly innocent kid is born whose life will be screwed up by their parents.” Halley described her situation in life perfectly. A few nice lines like that earned the book a couple of starts.

There was one jarring plot hole I noticed. On page 153 Halley and Finn are in the library and they realize the library closes in 5 minutes, so they leave the library and go to the quarry to hang out a while. After they leave the quarry, they went back to the library, which closed hours earlier (page 164). This should have been caught by an editor.

The ending was unsatisfying. It appeared as she neared 400 pages of the same thing over and over, she realized she had to end the book, so in just a few pages she tied it up and everybody lived happily ever after. Terrible ending. Anderson, you are better than this.

Overall, not a terrible book, but not one of Anderson’s best. It appeared she mailed this one in. ( )
  dwcofer | Nov 21, 2022 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Anderson, Laurie Halseautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Daniels, LukeNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Whelan, JuliaNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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--These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.  Memory fingers in their hair of murders...  Wilfred Owen, "Mental Cases"

Apparently misinformed about the rumored stuff of dreams: everywhere I inquired, I was told look for blue.  Carl Phillips, "Blue"
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for my father
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It started in detention.
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His worst yesterdays played on a constant loop in his head and he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stop paying attention to them.
I had shut the door on my memories because they hurt. Without my memories, I’d turned into one of the living dead.
We’re going to keep making memories like this, moments when we’re the only two people in the whole world. And when we get scared or lonely or confused, we’ll pull out these memories and wrap them around us and they’ll make us feel safe.
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"Hayley Kincaid and her father move back to their hometown to try a "normal" life, but the horrors he saw in the war threaten to destroy their lives"--

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